Every transfer window throws up something of a left-field rumour, with Premier League outfit Aston Villa currently at the centre of the latest, surprise transfer claim, amid reports that the Midlands side are interested in Inter Milan forward, Alexis Sanchez.
According to La Tercera, Villa have been named as one of the clubs who are believed to be keen on signing the 33-year-old, with the Chilean ace set to be allowed to depart the Serie A side this summer despite having a year remaining on his existing deal.
Having already wrapped up four major deals in the current window, manager Steven Gerrard and owners NSWE could be set for their next marquee addition in the form of the former Arsenal man, with the veteran attacker potentially the solution in their quest to add an experienced forward this summer.
Although it may be a bold move to recruit an ageing, £175k-per-week asset, the one-time Barcelona man has seemingly done enough in his career previously to warrant the gamble – particularly if he is to be available on a free transfer.
Much like the recent capture of Philippe Coutinho – who has signed on a permanent deal after a six-month loan stint last term – Sanchez’s arrival could help rejuvenate a once-great figure who has perhaps fallen by the wayside in recent years.
The £3.15m-rated “maverick” – as described by one source – has previously set the Premier League alight during his time at the Emirates Stadium, having joined the club on a £35m deal from Catalonia in the summer of 2014.
Under the guidance of Arsene Wenger, he would go on to score 80 goals and provide 45 assists in 166 games in all competitions for the Gunners, proving a constant menace from his left-wing berth.
Once dubbed a “warrior” by Liam Canning, the 148-cap maestro was able to combine his devastating attacking output with a humble, hard-working approach, emerging as something of a talismanic figure in north London as a result.
With his subsequent move to Manchester United in January 2018 failing to work out – as he scored just five goals and laid on nine assists in 45 games in total – the fleet-footed forward was shipped off to Italy just 18 months later, although has again been reduced to just a bit-part role at the San Siro.
That being said, he has still chipped in with 20 strikes and 23 assists in all competitions for the Serie A side thus far, while he also ranks highly in a string of attacking and defensive metrics, as per FBref, most notably in the top 1% for progressive carries and the top 2% for dribbles completed among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues.
Although his lack of game time is a factor in that favourable comparison, it perhaps illustrates that the diminutive gem can still provide lethal, brief cameos when required.
That may be all Villa are potentially in need of, a player to come on and impact the game in the closing stages, particularly when a figure is needed to create a moment of magic to unlock the door.
Coutinho has already shown early signs that he can do just that, perhaps Sanchez can follow suit.